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Mr. President and Members of the Court.

2. I have the great honour to appear before you as the Agent of Singapore. Since
this is the first case involving Singapore in the International Court of Justice, I would
like to begin by saying a few words about my countrys policy on international law,
on the rule of law and on the peaceful settlement of disputes.
7. Mr. President and Members of the Court, let me introduce the subject matter of
this case. this case concerns sovereignty over three maritime features a main
island called Pedra Branca and two subsidiary features called Middle Rocks and
South Ledge. According to Article 2 of the Special Agreement:
The Court is requested to determine whether sovereignty over:
(a) Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh;
(b) Middle Rocks;
(c) South Ledge,
belongs to Malaysia or the Republic of Singapore.
Pedra Branca means White Rock in the Portuguese language. The phrase Pulau
Batu Puteh means White Rock Island in the Malay language. The name Pulau
Batu Puteh, has only recently appeared in maps of the region and is the name by
which my Malaysian friends refer to the island today. For the purpose of Singapores
oral presentations, we will be referring to the island as Pedra Branca, the name by
which it has been known since the Portuguese started mapping the region in the
sixteenth century.
10. Mr. President and Members of the Court, it is our submission that sovereignty
over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge belong to Singapore.
Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore because the British colonial government in
Singapore acquired sovereignty over the island, by taking possession of the
island more than 150 years ago to build a lighthouse. Over the years, Singapore
has consistently maintained its title over Pedra Branca by the continuous, open
and effective display of State authority on the island and within its territorial
waters.
Middle Rocks belongs to Singapore because it forms an indivisible group with
Pedra Branca. It has never been independently appropriated, and, lying within
Pedra Brancas territorial sea, Middle Rocks necessarily belongs to the State
which has sovereignty over Pedra Branca.
South Ledge belongs to Singapore because it is a low-tide elevation located
within the territorial sea generated by Pedra Branca and Middle Rocks.
11. The three features lie about 25 nautical miles from Singapore and between
seven and eight nautical miles from the Malaysian coast. I should emphasize that
during the relevant period, the applicable width of the territorial sea was three

miles. Malaysia extended its territorial sea to 12 miles in 1969, long after Singapore
had acquired title to the three features.
12. Before 1979, Malaysia had never laid claim to any of these three features. In
1979, for the first time, Malaysia published a map purporting to place Pedra Branca
within the Malaysian territorial sea, giving rise to the present dispute. The dispute
has been an irritant in the bilateral relations between our two countries. After
almost 28 years, we are very pleased that the dispute will finally be brought to an
end. And I am very happy to inform the Court that the two Parties have agreed to
accept and to abide by the judgment of this Court.
20. Mr. President and Members of the Court, Malaysia is Singapores largest trading
partner and Singapore is Malaysias second largest trading partner. Cultural ties are
strong because the two countries share many commonalities of language, of
ethnicity and of religion. I would tendered that this case is the constant stream of
Singapores acts of administration in relation to Pedra Branca, contrasted with the
complete absence of Malaysian effectivits on Pedra Branca or within its territorial
waters, and with Malaysias silence in the face of all these State activities of
Singapore. Such silence on the part of Malaysia is significant, and must be taken to
mean that Malaysia never regarded Pedra Branca as her territory.
21. Mr. President and Members of the Court, I will now outline the main elements of
Singapores case both on the facts and on the law.
22. Singapores title to Pedra Branca is based upon the taking of lawful possession
of the island by the British authorities in Singapore during the period 1847 to 1851.
Malaysia claims that, prior to 1847, Pedra Branca was under the sovereignty of
Johor. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support Malaysias claim. Mr.
President, the truth is that, prior to 1847, Pedra Branca was terra nullius, and had
never been the subject of a prior claim, or any manifestation of sovereignty by any
sovereign entity.
25. Mr. President, The story began 160 years ago, when the British colonial
government in Singapore decided to build a lighthouse on Pedra Branca. The British
Government took possession of the island in 1847 and actual construction of the
lighthouse began in 1850. The lighthouse, together with its ancillary structures, was
completed the following year. There is no doubt that, by the time the lighthouse was
completed, Britain had acquired sovereignty over Pedra Branca and there was no
doubt in the minds of contemporary observers that the British Crown had acquired
sovereignty over Pedra Branca during that period.
19. Pedra Branca was already described as a dependency of Singapore at the
lighthouse foundation stone ceremony held in 24 May 1850 in the presence of the
British Governor7. In November that year, Pedra Branca was again described, this
time in official Dutch correspondence, as British territory
27. After 1851, the United Kingdom and, subsequently, Singapore, confirmed and
maintained the title that had been acquired over Pedra Branca by the continuous,

open and effective display of State authority on Pedra Branca as a whole and within
its territorial waters. These activities were wide ranging, comprising both lighthouse
and non-lighthouse activities suitable to the nature of the territory concerned and,
most importantly, were undertaken titre de souverain\
29. Mr. President, Malaysia claims that the British sought permission from Johor to
build the Horsburgh lighthouse, but she has not provided any evidence to support
this contention.
23. In 1886, the Singapore Government constructed a lighthouse on an island called
Pulau Pisang. That island belonged to Johor and, consequently, the lighthouse was
constructed with Johors permission. It is the only lighthouse operated by the
Singapore Government on Malaysian territory. The contrast between Malaysias
treatment of Pulau Pisang and Pedra Branca shows very clearly that Malaysia had
never regarded Pedra Branca as Malaysian territory.
24. In 1900, Johor regularized the arrangement for Pulau Pisang lighthouse by
issuing a formal grant of the land for the lighthouse to Singapore 12. In contrast, no
attempt has ever been made by Johor to issue a formal grant for the lighthouse on
Pedra Branca.
25. In 1927, Singapore and Johor entered into an agreement to draw a territorial sea
boundary in the Johor. The 1927 Agreement was supplemented in 1995 by an
agreement between Singapore and Malaysia to fix the boundary in the Johor Strait
by reference to a set of geographical co-ordinates. Neither the 1927 Agreement nor
the 1995 Agreement concerned Pedra Branca.
33. In 1968, Malaysia protested against the flying of the Singapore flag on Pulau
Pisang. Singapore promptly removed the flag from Pulau Pisang. In contrast,
Malaysia did not protest against the flying of the Singapore flag on Pedra Branca .
not only that, Malaysia did not protest the taking of lawful possession of Pedra
Branca by the British Crown in 1847-1851, she never objected to any of the official
State actions that Singapore undertook on Pedra Branca until well after 1980. In
fact, Malaysia has, by her own conduct, recognized Singapores sovereignty over
the island. In 1953, when Johor was still an indisputably sovereign State, Johor
officially declared that she did not claim ownership over Pedra Branca. Mr. President,
this disclaimer is binding on Malaysia. In addition, the highest national mapping
authority of Malaysia published a series of four maps, from 1962 to 1975,
specifically attributing Pedra Branca to Singapore.
30. The evidence shows that Singapore has, for more than 150 years, acted in a
manner entirely consistent with her sovereignty over Pedra Branca. On the other
hand, prior to Malaysias claim in 1979, Malaysia never once intimated that she
possessed title to Pedra Branca and never once carried out any sovereign act on or
in relation to Pedra Branca. Instead, as I have said, Malaysia officially disclaimed
ownership over the island in 1953, issued official maps which depicted Pedra Branca
as belonging to Singapore, and remained silent in the face of Singapores
continuous administration and control of the island.

31. Mr. President and Members of the Court, with respect to Middle Rocks and South
Ledge, both features lie within Pedra Brancas territorial waters. Middle Rocks, lying
0.6 nautical miles from Pedra Branca, is part of the same island group as Pedra
Branca, while South Ledge is a low-tide elevation incapable of independent
appropriation. Therefore, sovereignty over both Middle Rocks and South Ledge
belongs to Singapore by virtue of Singapores sovereignty over Pedra Branca.
40. Mr. President and Members of the Court, as the foregoing narrative shows, from
1847 right up till 1978 a period of more than 130 years the conduct of the
Parties was remarkably consistent. Singapore consistently performed various acts of
State authority in relation to Pedra Branca, and Singapore officials consistently
expressed the view, on many occasions, that Pedra Branca was under Singapores
sovereignty. Malaysian officials were, on the other hand, equally consistent in
acknowledging and recognizing Singapores title to Pedra Branca. It was not until
1978 that we begin to see Malaysia taking the first tentative steps towards making
a claim to Pedra Branca. And it was only in 1979 that Malaysia made a formal claim
to the island through the publication of its map entitled Territorial Waters and
Continental Shelf Boundaries of Malaysia
42. Singapore was, of course, quite surprised by Malaysias attempt to claim Pedra
Branca, given Singapores long-standing, unopposed title, Johors unconditional
disclaimer of title in 1953 and Malaysias repeated publication of official maps
attributing Pedra Branca to Singapore. Singapore studied the Malaysian map
carefully. As it turned out, Malaysia had also made unjustified territorial sea claims
against Singapore at the two ends of the Johor Strait.
45. Mr. President and Members of the Court, In February 1980, Singapore issued a
diplomatic Note which protested against Malaysias claim to Pedra Branca. Malaysia
had staked a very late claim to Pedra Branca in the face of more than 130 years of
Singapore sovereignty over the island, which Malaysia had never previously
opposed but had, on the contrary, recognized on several occasions. And even at
that late hour, the Malaysian Government was still unsure of its claim. in May 1980,
there was a meeting between the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore. At the
end of the meeting, the two Prime Ministers held a joint press conference. At the
press conference, the Malaysian Prime Minister answered some questions
concerning Malaysias claim to Pedra Branca. An audio recording of the Malaysian
Prime Ministers answer, has been included.
the Malaysian Prime Minister said: We are also looking into the question because
this is not very clear to us with regard to this island . . . He then started to explain
why Malaysia included Pedra Branca in the map, but stopped himself abruptly in
mid-sentence. Regardless of what it was that he stopped himself from saying, it is
clear that the Malaysian Prime Minister had publicly admitted that the question of
sovereignty over Pedra Branca was not very clear to Malaysia

Furthermore, in 1855, Pedra Branca could not have been a dependency of mainland
Johor since Sultan Abdul Rahman had omitted all islands in the sea from his
donation to Sultan Hussein. It follows that whether or not Pedra Branca ever
belonged to the Johor Sultanate, it never became part of the State of Johor. What
Hussein did not have, his heir, Ali, could not give nemo dat quod non habet.
47. Finally, let me complete this part of my presentation by referring to an incident
that occurred in 1861, six years after the signing of the 1855 Treaty. The Governor
of Singapore had sought an explanation from the Temenggong on a complaint made
by some fishermen from Singapore that they had been harassed by subjects of
Johor while fishing near Pedra Branca. The Governor requested that the offenders be
punished. The Temenggong did not assert that he had jurisdiction or authority over
Pedra Branca or its waters. Instead, he replied to the Governor to explain that the
incident happened somewhere else, within three miles off Johor.
Mr. President and Members of the Court, I now have the honour to make some
concluding upon my presentation that show Singapore had carried out a steady
stream of activities on Pedra Branca stating in 1847 and Malaysia did absolutely
nothing.

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